Steps To The Interview Process: A Guide For Employers

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Table Of Contents

To hire people, you need to do an interview. Interviewing candidates, however, isn’t as easy as asking a few questions. Your company needs to define and follow a process. This will help make hiring decisions more straightforward and more accurate.  Here’s what you need to do to make your interview process top-notch.

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What Is An Interview Process?

An interview process is every step that you go through as part of deciding who to hire. Every hiring manager and recruiter must understand and follow the interview process. Otherwise, things get confusing for everyone. You’ve probably heard about companies ghosting candidates. This can happen when managers or recruiters don’t follow the process and give feedback to candidates.

You can have different interview processes for various positions and levels within the company. The process you use to hire a new grocery store cashier differs from the process to hire the new Senior Vice President of Marketing. That’s okay! You’re looking to do the best for your company, which means good processes for every level.

Steps Of The Interview Process And How To Improve Them

The interview process starts before anyone says a word to a candidate! But don’t skip these steps, or you’ll have a less effective method.

1. Create a good job description

A well-written job description influences who applies to each job. It can be a good pre-screening step. If you have a hazy or incorrect job description, people who are not qualified will be more likely to apply, making the next steps for the interview process more onerous than they need to be.

2. Screen resumes

For some jobs, you’ll receive three applicants, and this step isn’t as important. You’ll receive 150 applicants for others, which is a critical part of the interview process. While keyword searches within an applicant tracking system can be helpful here, remember that keywords are not the key to success. Unless your response is literally overwhelming, make sure that you look at each resume to select the top, qualified candidates.

For more information, check out our guide on how to screen job applicants.

3. Conduct a phone screen

Some companies are skipping this in favor of text messaging, but that is a popular approach for scammers. You may scare away quality candidates if you try to skip this part of the interview process. Additionally, some companies use artificial intelligence to conduct automatic interviews via messages. While this can add to your interview process, it’s not wise to step the phone screen. The recruiter or the hiring manager can do this phone screen. Ideally, it should not take more than 10 minutes. It’s mainly to ensure that the person on the other end of the phone is the person who wrote the resume.

4. Presentations or skills test

You may wish to have the candidate do a presentation (keep it short, or you’ll need to pay the candidate for their preparation time), take a skills test, or do a personality assessment. Make sure these are all related to the job at hand. One key thing is to have your current employees go through these screenings. You may find out that the personality that you want is not the one your current, successful employees have.

5. Conduct a formal interview

In the past, managers did this interview in person. Since Covid, many companies have seen the ease of video screening to save everyone time. But, even if this is over video, consider it a formal interview. Ask the same questions you would in a face-to-face interview. Don’t judge candidates too harshly about their location--interviewing from inside cars is quite common. It’s a quiet place away from nosy coworkers, loud children, and persistent pets.

When conducting an interview, it’s important to ask the right questions. Learn more in our guide to the best interview questions. We also include what to look for in answers!

6. Conduct additional interviews

This part of the process changes with the type of positions. A phone screen with a recruiter and an interview with the hiring manager is probably enough for an entry-level position. You may wish to have other team members, subject matter experts, and high-level managers interview the candidate for a higher-level employee.

7. On-site interviews

If you’ve opted for video interviews up until this point, and the candidate will ultimately work on-site, it’s essential to bring them to the office. This is especially critical if the job will require the person to relocate. In that case, you’ll want to give the candidate a city tour and answer questions about housing, schools, nightlife, or anything else the candidate may wish to know.

To have the best success at interviewing, plan out your process before you screen candidates. This way, you can tell candidates, “We’d like you to have a video interview with the hiring manager. The top three candidates will then come in for an in-person panel interview with the directors in the division. After that, we’ll make our decision and notify you.”

You’ll want to give candidates feedback after every step. If you decide not to bring a candidate to the next step, tell them as soon as you’ve decided. Don’t ghost candidates!

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the stages of the interview process?

The stages are outlined above and may vary from company to company and position to position.

What is the best interview process?

The best interview process is one that the company clearly defines, communicates to the candidate, and follows religiously. This way, everyone knows where they are in the process, and you can select the best applicant.

Why is the interview process important?

This process helps companies find the best fit for their vacant position and allows the candidate to assess if they want to work for the company. Remember, interviews are two-way conversations!

The Bottom Line

To have a good interview process, you need good candidates! To help find the best candidate, consider. Consider posting your job opening on ZipRecruiter!